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The Mighty Johns

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I thought this would be a good idea. Crime/mystery fiction mixed with the seedy world of football is almost like a match made in heaven. Unlike the bittersweet sentiment surrounding baseball, football is crass and commerical and in love with itself. Oh, wait. The book sucks.

Actually, not all of it sucks. Just the centerpiece, a turgid piece of horseswill from bestseller David Baldacci. I’ve never read anything of his, but assumed that his constant presence on the bestseller lists meant he was at least readable. After reading the novella The Mighty Johns, I have to ask: “what in God’s name is wrong with you America?

It’s bad. Like insane bad. Like 5th 4th 3rd grade English bad. Baldacci’s sentences are so horribly mangled, reading them is like seeing a car wreck about to happen. The characters are paper-thin, even for a novella, and make HUGE, DECLARATIVE statements you would more likely see in the pages of a ’70s era DC comic. The remaining stories are much better, especially Mike Lupica’s tale of a drug-addicted superstar. Lupica’s story shines because its one of only two in the volume depicting an African-American player. The other writers would do well to notice that outside of the offensive line, the league’s hue is rather dark. But the Baldacci excrement taints the whole deal and makes this book overpriced in the dollar bin. Never again will I buy a book with a cover blurb from Larry King.

Oliver Willis writes about football on OliverWillis.Com. He will be on PBS soon.

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